Introduction: Copper deficiency is an increasingly recognized cause of neurological impairment. This retrospective review highlights clinical and electrodiagnostic findings in patients diagnosed at our institution with copper deficiency.
Methods: Clinical, radiographic and electrodiagnostic findings were reviewed in patients with evidence of copper deficiency. Patients with other potential causes of myelopathy or neuropathy were excluded.
Results: The predominant clinical feature in all six patients was a sensory ataxia, resulting in marked gait unsteadiness. Nerve conduction studies and needle EMG were performed in all patients and revealed a mild to moderate distal, axonal, sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy. Median and tibial somatosensory evoked potentials were abnormal in all five patients in which it was done, showing impaired conduction in central or proximal peripheral somatosensory pathways.
Conclusions:This pattern of electrodiagnostic findings suggests that impairment in somatosensory pathways demonstrated by somatosensory evoked potential testing, is the main cause of the sensory ataxia in patients with copper deficiency.